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Edgar Lee Masters (1868–1950). Spoon River Anthology. 1916.

231. James Garber

DO you remember, passer-by, the path

I wore across the lot where now stands the opera house,

Hasting with swift feet to work through many years?

Take its meaning to heart:

You too may walk, after the hills at Miller’s Ford

Seem no longer far away;

Long after you see them near at hand,

Beyond four miles of meadow;

And after woman’s love is silent,

Saying no more: “I will save you.”

And after the faces of friends and kindred

Become as faded photographs, pitifully silent,

Sad for the look which means: “We cannot help you.”

And after you no longer reproach mankind

With being in league against your soul’s uplifted hands—

Themselves compelled at midnight and at noon

To watch with steadfast eye their destinies;

After you have these understandings, think of me

And of my path, who walked therein and knew

That neither man nor woman, neither toil,

Nor duty, gold nor power

Can ease the longing of the soul,

The loneliness of the soul!